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Archive for June, 2017

Like an old-fashioned nesting doll, my identity seemed buried somewhere within—a series of selves so well compartmentalized that I was unsure of who I’d become. Even as a young child, I was adept at acknowledging only those feelings and thoughts that I considered good and, before I realized the cost, I’d grown into a woman unsure of who she’d become.Untitled design

Just a few years ago, I peered at my reflection in the mirror. How had I gotten along as far as I had in life without a better understanding of me? I was bewildered. Perplexed. Unsure of how I might overcome this lack of personal insight.

Have you, dear Friend, ever experienced the loss of you within the pages of your life? Perhaps your identity crises began when your marriage—once a relationship of youthful hopes and dreams—ended unexpectedly. Maybe you lost sight of self in the chaotic call of mothering children. It could be you awakened one day as an empty nester with nobody at home and suddenly unsure of the woman within.

I don’t know your circumstances, but I know that you do have a heavenly identity as the Daughter of Christ. You are God’s one-of-a-kind-beauty. And, in Him? You are adored…cherished…loved abundantly.

He knows you intimately—even if you do not. Give yourself permission to become acquainted with the woman He made you to be.

Blessings,

Tammy

 

Today’s Prayer

 Dear Father,

 You love me and know me intimately. You knit me together in my mother’s womb and created me to be a beautiful reflection of your image. Guide me into a deeper understanding of who You designed me to be—my temperament, my talents, my gifts, my purpose—that I might serve You more fully.

 

Thank you for loving me, Father, as I am now and as the woman who will one day be made complete in Christ.

 Amen

 

Linking up today at:

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Action Steps

 

  1. Take an online spiritual gifts test and/or a Myers Brigg personality test
  2. Read A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  3. Reintroduce a hobby you used to enjoy back into your life

 

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give yourself permission to allow the beauty of self to shine through (4)

I was such a people pleaser and in trying to be everything to everyone else, I have little idea of who I am.

 Her words, full of regret and confusion, describe me only a few years ago. At times—even after years of seeking wise counsel and prayer—I still struggle with desiring approval.

If you’ve ever felt the pull to be someone you weren’t designed to be; ever buried your thoughts beneath the false assumption that your feelings are inconsequential…irrelevant…immaterial; ever heard yes spill from your mouth when you intended to say no; then you understand.

It was only in beginning to understand authentic, unconditional love that I found release from the terrible, demanding tyrant of seeking always to please others at the cost of genuine personhood.

The ingrained habits of childhood followed me into marriage and, as a newlywed, I “protected” myself from being fully known by remaining meek and agreeable whether or not I agreed with my husband.

The dusty blue and white striped couch is a perfect example.

As my husband and I meandered around the Sears furniture department, we compared several different chairs, couches, and kitchen tables. Pointing out a particular set sofa within our price range, Dave asked for my opinion. I like it. Which…I did, but I preferred a different piece. The traditional one a few steps to the right. I remained silent.

I chose pleasing my husband to sharing myself and was reminded of it each day for the five years that cute little sofa graced our home.

Time has taught me that to be truly loved by others, I must be known as I am—not as others might wish me to be. Not as I imagine I should be. Just the woman God created me to be.

If people pleasing has been your struggle, would you give yourself permission to allow the beauty of self to shine through in your thoughts and actions? Allow Him to reveal the woman He designed you to be—fully known and loved.

Blessings,

Tammy

 

P.S. I always share my opinion when buying sofas now and my husband still loves me. J

 

Ideas that might help as you discover You-

If you, like my friend, feel uncertain about who you are, consider starting small.

  1. Decide on an untried genre of book that sounds interesting or explore a hobby that intrigues you.
  2. Read and memorize scripture that combats doubt about self by affirming your identity in Christ. These are some of my favorites: 1 Thessalonians. 1:4, Psalm 139:14, Ephesians. 1:5
  3. Journal your thoughts, feelings, and discoveries.
  4. Ask a friend, spouse, or mentor to pray for your specific needs as the Lord guides you toward a greater understanding of your identity.

Linking up with:

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Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

The four men encouraged their friend, “We’ve heard of his miracles—healing you will be a simple task.”  Resolute, they hoisted their companion and his bedroll onto their shoulders.  Navigating the crowded streets of Judea without dropping the bundle became increasingly difficult as they neared the house.  Men, women, and children; rich and poor; religious leaders and rebels pushed and prodded to gain access to the one called Rabbi.  There was no more room and no way to get any nearer.

Unless….well, it was a long-shot.  Without hesitation, the men gathered the mat and its contents, maneuvered up the stairs to the roof, and with bare hands ripped each tile from its place.  Finally, they glimpsed him below—there, in the midst of the crowd, preaching.  Would he resent their boldness?  Grow angry at the desperate need of their friend?  Glancing nervously at one another, they slowly lowered the bedroll and the man lying upon it at Jesus’ feet.

Undisturbed by the interruption, Jesus glanced upward and then at the weeping, paralyzed man. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

Like the paralyzed man and his friends, Jesus calls us to live a life of faith.  We can go boldly before Him, lay our “mat” at his feet, and rest in the knowledge that He will meet our needs.

May we have the faith to come before Him today–expecting to walk away changed.

Scripture for Reflection-“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home. He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.”   Mark 2:11-12

Action Step-Make a list of three concerns or struggles you are managing today.  Pray about them and give them to God–all day long. Consider including the following Bible verse as part of your prayers, but inserting your name in place of the pronouns my and your instead.

And my ( ____________’s) God will meet all your ( _______________’s) needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Recommended Books

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This is a Christian–one who dares to act as if God tells the truth.”  –Pastor Mark Bates

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.

His life reads like a Hollywood movie–the culmination of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, forced to seek refuge in a distant land, and then offering his life in place of the soldiers who pierced his hands and feet…suffering for the sins of those who pressed a crown of thorns on his head…pronouncing words of forgiveness to a discarded, frightened man bearing the shame of Golgotha.

But, this is not a child’s fairy tale or a superstitious myth dreamed up to explain the unexplainable.  This is Biblical truth; the great love story of God rescuing His people from that great enemy, Sin. The beautiful giving of His life for those willing to risk belief.

Yet the world threatens to overcome…to overwhelm…to overpower belief.

A young man just beginning to live takes his own life–desperate for relief from consuming depression, a child’s small bones ache from arthritis, a next-door neighbor submits to another round of chemo and hopes she’ll have enough energy to play with her children tomorrow.

But there is a story much bigger than our smaller stories–these lives of struggle and prayer, tears and hope.  It is His story–one recorded for us–that tells of the Lion and the Lamb…the Beginning and the End….the Resurrection and the Life.

And while the world threatens, He promises to give abundant life (John 10:10)

…to provide freedom (John 8:36)

…and to love us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).

I dare to believe–to act as if what God says is true. Won’t you? Let us encourage one another to hold to our faith, dear Friend, even when we doubt.

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Leave a Jesus-impressionI cupped the butterfly in my hands–watching its wings gracefully open and close. It’s gossamer sails resembled the stained glass of a country church when the sunlight streams through the kaleidoscope of colors and I oohed and ahhed at its beauty.

Gently grasping black-tipped wings, I settled the creature in a field of clover and watched it for a few more minutes. Holding my hands up toward the sky, I tilted them first one way and then another. The butterfly’s scales had left a filmy sheen on my fingers and palm and I worried. Oh, please, let the butterfly dance in the wind again!

Are you like the butterfly? Have you been mishandled? Mistreated? Have you left bits of you behind where life has brushed hard against you?

Sometimes, the impact of brushing against life has sent me spiraling headlong into self. Self-preservation. Self-protection. Self-pity. And I concentrate more on the marks left on me–those places rubbed raw and left vulnerable–instead of looking to the One who strengthens and transforms me through the ebb and flow of living human.

I’ve forgotten to consider…what sort of impression have I left behind when others see the struggle? Has the whole of the difficult been about me or are other lives different…changed…or even better in some way because in the pressing into and through the hard places something like a spiritual transfer occurred? During those times do people see Jesus in me?

A dear woman I know is beginning her second round of  chemotherapy. Transluscent skin peeks from beneath the covers while Patty tells us this is her second missionary journey. Her life is being swallowed by the great, devouring enemy of cancer, but when she is pressed? Rubbed against? The words that flow from her mouth are gentle and sweet…offering hope and forever-life to other cancer patients…nurses…doctors.

Oh, that I when I brush hard against life I could be a woman like my friend. I don’t think it’s easy. We begin to leave Jesus-impressions when we soak our hearts in His word. His power. His presence. And isn’t that our calling?

Friend, where are you meant to leave a Jesus-impression today?

Blessings,

Tammy

 

Linking up this week at:

 

 

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